Another 19 COVID-19-related fatalities were reported in Los Angeles County Wednesday, Aug. 24, while the number of virus-positive patients in local hospitals ticked up slightly.
The 19 new deaths lifted the county’s virus-related death toll to 33,060. Another 3,860 new COVID-19 infections were also reported by the county, raising its cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,390,012. The county-reported case figures are believed to under-count the actual number of infections, since many people now rely on at-home tests, the results of which are often not relayed to county health officials.
According to state figures, there were 924 virus-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, up slightly from 915 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 104 were being treated in intensive care units, the same number as Tuesday. Hospitalization numbers have been steadily dropping since late July, when the number of virus-positive patients topped 1,300 during a surge fueled by the Omicron variant of the virus.
County officials have said that roughly 43% of the COVID-positive patients were actually admitted for virus-related illness, while the others were admitted for other reasons, with some only learning they were infected when they were tested at the hospital. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 9.5% as of Wednesday, roughly the same as the previous day.
COVID case numbers and hospitalizations have been falling for weeks, as have the number of outbreaks in Southland workplaces. As of Monday, there were 61 active worksite outbreaks in the county, down from 93 a month ago, according to the county Department of Public Health.
Health officials noted that employers are still required to report outbreaks, defined as three or more lab-confirmed cases within a 14-day period. Employers are also still required to make medical-grade masks available to employees who wish to wear them.
“It is encouraging to see L.A. County reporting a steady decline in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday. “To continue this trend in the fall, we must continue to take steps to protect our communities and workplaces. We know what works — masking, testing, and vaccination, along with other effective safety measures during infections and outbreaks. If all our employers, workers, and customers follow safety protocols, we can limit the number of outbreaks at our job sites and continue to reduce COVID transmission.”